The occurrence of lead (7439921) poisoning in telephone cable strippers was examined. Lead poisoning among the workers who processed lead sheathed telephone cable was identified at five distinct worksites; the sites were dispersed geographically and were evaluated by separate clinicians and government agencies. High blood lead levels were detected during scheduled medical evaluation of symptomatic workers; some workers had blood lead levels of over 100 micrograms per deciliter. Subsequent workplace evaluation revealed significant overexposure to lead among certain workers; air levels up to 200 times the standard were measured at some sites. Four of the workplaces decided to stop lead cable processing after intervention by government agencies. However, due to ongoing replacement of lead sheathed telephone cable with fiber optics, more clusters are likely to occur. The authors recommend measures to prevent overexposure to lead.
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